Book Club, FAQs, Novel, Published Author, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing

Writing Q & A Part 1

black and white business career close up

Since I’ve been writing, there are certain questions I get asked on a regular basis. I decided to feature them in a blog post along with my answers. I titled this Part 1, because there are other questions I’d like to feature, and I know there will be more along the way. Enjoy!

Side note: If you’re reading this and you see a question here that you have asked me, please know I’m not singling anyone out, I’m just featuring commonly asked questions… along with a few silly ones!
How do you come up with your stories?
I wish there was a clear, concise answer to this. I have an overactive imagination, so a lot of the time something will catch my attention. It can be a person, it can be a shiny object, it can be a pretty autumn leaf on the ground. Whatever it is, my mind will focus on it, then my imagination starts running wild and usually a story is formed from that. Other times I see vignettes in my mind, kind of like a movie. A lot of those images just pass through, but the ones that reoccur are the ones I pay attention to, and the ones I start to write.
How do you name your characters?
Sometimes I use a name that I love, like Alexandra. Sometimes, I see a character and I have no idea what to name them. A book of baby names comes in handy for this. Other times, the names come to me like the story lines do. I know this sounds crazy, and please don’t think I need a mental health evaluation, but sometimes a character will introduce themselves to me, and tell me their name. This happened to me with my current work in progress. You’ll meet her later this year!
Is Slater Heart named after A.C. Slater from that old TV show Saved by The Bell?
Um… that’s a hard no. Never even crossed my mind. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’m asked that. I don’t like that question, it actually kind of irritates me.
Then, how did you come up with the name Slater Heart?
I knew that Slater’s character would have a unique name. If you’ve read Set It Free, Slater tells Alexandra that his family has a tradition of making last names into middle names. So, Slater is his middle name. I think I was watching an interview on The Today Show with actor Christian Slater and I thought his last name would be a very cool name for a rock star. He didn’t inspire anything beyond the name.
You dedicated Set It Free to Axl Rose. So, you’ve met him? That’s why you dedicated it to him?
Yup, we’re besties… we go way back… Did you detect a hint of sarcasm? Ha ha! No, I have not met him. I dedicated the book to him because he was a huge inspiration to me while I was writing the series. I’ve started writing projects in the past and I’ve never finished them. I finished this one, and I wanted to thank him for that. That’s all.
Do you want to meet him?
At first, I thought, yes. My goal was to get my book into his hands and say thank you for the inspiration. Now, I’d love to know that he received a copy of my book and my thanks, but honestly, if I never meet him, I’m ok with that. That one is hard to explain but I get asked that frequently, so that’s my answer.
Do you put people you know in your stories?
Sometimes, and sometimes they’re good characters and sometimes they’re not. If you’ve read Let It Go, you might remember a part where Alexandra and Mona talk about 2 makeup artists they’re not very fond of. Those gossipy characters are 2 people I used to work with. No, their names have not been changed. Yes, they were that awful. Sorry, not sorry.
What if they read it and see that?
I’d like to introduce them to a friend of mine named, Karma.
Do you use real life situations in your stories?
To a certain extent. There have been many real life situations that have inspired parts of my books, but a lot of them come from my imagination.
You have some steamy content in your books. What’s it like to write a sex scene?
I get asked this a lot. A LOT! It’s challenging, that’s for sure. Sometimes it feels voyeuristic, like I’m spying on them. It can be a little uncomfortable, but I think it’s part of a romance novel that’s important, so I have to get past any reservations I have and write their story… steamy content, and all.
Are any of those steamy moments from personal experience?
I get asked this one quite often, too. My answer… you’ll never know.
Why is it taking so long to get your next book published?
The writing/editing process is a long one. The manuscript goes back and forth between me and my editors several times. Editing is very tedious, and I’m so thankful for my editors, even though I’m usually cussing them out during revisions! After editing comes formatting, then it’s off to the publisher. The cost of self-publishing is not inexpensive, so that’s a factor, as well. The more books I sell, the more money I make, so spread the word and tell your friends to buy my books, so they can get published faster!
You talk about reviews all the time. Are they really that important?
Yes, they are. Not only do they mean the world to me that someone takes the time to leave a positive review, but the more reviews I have, the more exposure I’ll get, which results in more book sales. If you’ve left me a review on Amazon, Goodreads, Google, social media, etc. I am forever grateful. If you have not left a review yet, please do. It truly means so much to me!

There you have it! If you have a question about my writing process, or a personal question for me, reply to this post, or leave me a message/comment on social media. I’m on Instagram as brookegillespietroutauthor or on my Facebook page, Brooke’s Books.

Uncategorized, Unemployment, Workplace Drama, Writing

When You Want To Grow

TP

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been unemployed for about 2 1/2 months now. Some days it feels like it all happened yesterday, other days it feels like it was years ago. It’s crazy how it can be such a blur to me, yet still so many things stand out. The good things stand out. The friends I made, and the people I would enjoy seeing every day. And, of course, the bad things stand out. My unhappiness, the poor way the company was run, and the gossip. Oh, the gossip was the worst! I don’t miss that part, at all!

When I looked at the calendar today and noticed the date, I thought of a few things. First, 25 years ago today, my grandmother passed away. Amazing how the time goes by, but I’ll never forget April 11th for that reason. Also, it happened to be Easter Sunday that day, so that makes the date stand out, as well. 2 years ago today, I started my job at That Place…I’ll refer to it that way from now on. Within the first month, I knew it wasn’t the job for me, but I had living expenses, so I dug in and I did it with a smile every day…well, not every day, I’m not perfect. 1 year ago today, I sat down with HR and told them being in my position for a year, I felt confident that I was ready to grow and move forward, and by moving forward, I meant moving out of my position, and of course, making more money. I left that meeting on a high since the HR manager agreed with me and made suggestions of areas where she thought I would be a good fit. 2 weeks later, my high became a low when she sat me down and told me she had spoken with “The Family”…aka the owners of the company. The conversation went a little something like this:
She said, “They like you where you are.”
“Does that mean I’m not doing a good job, and they don’t see that I have potential?” I asked.
“Oh, no,” she smiled, trying to reassure me. “It means you’re very good at what you do, so this is where you’ll stay.”
“Wait, what, huh?” I stammered through my response. “You mean they don’t want me to grow?”
“I’m sorry,” she said, shaking her head with pity.
“Seriously? Does that mean I won’t ever have an increase in pay?”
“Not at this time. I’m sorry. How do you feel?”
If I had told her how I really felt, I would have been fired on the spot. Who doesn’t want their employees to grow? It put me in mind of my time at Sephora. For makeup junkies like myself, it sounds like a dream job, right? At first, it was. It didn’t pay the best, but it fed my addiction with free products. About 6 months into my time there, I told the store manager I wanted to move into skincare. I thought she would be thrilled given the fact that, at that time, I had nearly 15 years of experience in the beauty industry. Halfway through my pitch to her about my deep knowledge of skincare and why I’d be a great addition to that team, she shook her head and very loudly said, “No. I’m sorry Brooke. You’re so good with the customers and ringing people up quickly, I can’t lose you there.”
Needless to say, my time at Sephora was short-lived after that. Not only was I told I couldn’t move forward, but it was retail during Christmas…at Park Meadows Mall. (My Colorado friends will totally understand that!)
I really wish my time at That Place would have been short-lived after I was told I’d never move up, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t for lack of trying, but even with numerous interviews under my belt, I wasn’t successful at finding a new job, and it just wasn’t possible to walk away from it. I have a family to feed!
Losing my job in January was truly the best thing that could happen. At first I felt elation, but that “up” was quickly followed by a “down”. I didn’t know what to do with myself with all this free time. Sure, the house could be cleaned, or I could jump into an intense fitness regime, but I haven’t done that. I’m writing, so there’s my blessing. I love to write! (Debut novel will be released soon…come on, had to do the shameless plug! Follow me on Instagram for updates!)
I’m getting better at meditating and praying, and I’m opening myself to accepting new possibilities. As I write this, there is very good potential for a new possibility, but that’s all I’ll say for now. I don’t want to announce anything until I have a firm offer.

I can’t be the only one who’s felt stifled at a job. I want to hear from you! Have you been in a position where you’ve been ready to grow, but your employer wouldn’t let you? I look forward to your response!

Novel, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing

Book Update

Cover Final

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll know that this week was a big week for me. If you don’t follow me, please do, just click on the links above!

Why was this a big week? Well, I sent my first novel off to the publisher! So, actually it’s not just a big week, it’s a major week. These screen shots made me smile a lot:

Book Baby

ISBN

Files downloaded, and ISBN numbers for both the printed book and the Ebook. I can’t tell you how giddy I am that I have an ISBN number!!!

This has been such an emotional process. I had a conversation with a friend this morning, and she confirmed what I’ve felt all along. She said it’s very much like parenting. So much love, time and effort goes into a project like this. Now that it’s complete, all I can do is watch it graduate and succeed with nothing but love and encouragement along the way.

It’s been 4 years. Yup, 4 years since I first had this tickle of a story and now I’m putting it out there into the world, and I’m ready to share it with you! If you’re wondering why it took 4 years, I can’t blame you. That sounds like an awfully long time to bring one book to life. It is a long time, but considering the fact that my characters basically became family members, it seems like just yesterday that they introduced themselves to me. I’ll share this process and how it came about in a future post.

In that 4 years, I’ve outlined 10 books in the series, written the first 3 novels and I’m halfway through the 4th book. Book 1, Heart & Soul – Set It Free, has been written, rewritten, edited, revised, edited, proofed, edited and revised…probably not in that order, but you get the gist. So much love has gone into this project. The series is aptly titled Heart & Soul and I’ve certainly put my heart and soul into it.

I went the route of self-publishing. My next step is to be traditionally published, but I felt the pull to self-publish my first book because I wanted to be there every single step of the way. I’ve learned a lot, and I can’t take credit for all of it; I’ve had some amazing help along the way.

So, what’s next? Well, it will take about a week for my book to be available as an Ebook, and the printed copies will be in my hands in about 3-4 weeks. By the end of this month, I can officially say I’m a published author! And that, my friends, is a major dream come true!

Stay tuned as I post updates on how you can get a copy! And if you have any questions, or want to be kept in the loop, please comment on this post, or follow me, and you’ll be in the know!

Thanks for reading, thanks for following and thank you for all your support, it’s meant the world to me!!

Uncategorized, Unemployment, Workplace Drama

When You Find Out You Worked For Liars

Liar

Nothing gets me more steamed than finding out I’ve been lied to. I was raised to be an honest person. I am an honest person, and I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility to expect that from others, especially my employer.

Before I dig into a rant on my former job, let me make one thing clear. I was not happy there. In fact, I hated my last job for 3 main reasons:

  • It was the wrong fit for me.
  • There was a ton of drama in the workplace.
  • It was a dead-end position with no promise of moving up. Ever.

When I was let go, I was brought into a large conference room. In said room was the HR manager, the HR bitch…sorry, not sorry…the VP of Finance and the CFO, who used to be one of the owners of the company before they sold out for millions. And I’m talking millions! (I’ll share more on the moment I was let go, and the HR bitch, in a different post.)
The CFO looked at me with tears in her eyes, repeatedly apologizing about the fact that my position was being eliminated. The VP didn’t have tears in his eyes, but he was very good at making it seem as though the fact that they were letting me go was killing him.
I was curious though. In a company where they had 2 people at the front desk because of its high traffic with calls and incoming visitors, why would they just eliminate this position without at least tapering off into a new situation? They let it seem as though it would be a very different set up. The phones were to be put on an automated system, eliminating the need for a human to answer. There would be one person at the desk to handle incoming visitors, but not in a customer service/front desk capacity. I was told to think along the lines of security guard, or lobby guard, etc.
Fine. No sweat. I was just glad to put that place behind me.
Crazy thing is, others who still worked there told me that there were suddenly temps covering the front desk…of course, that was followed up with a quick excuse that it was only until they could get things ironed out. I don’t care, but again, why the sudden decision, why not taper off and transition?
Just over a month has gone by since I’ve been let go. Today, just for sh*ts and grins, I got online and looked at the company website and checked out their job openings. I know, I know…it’s like looking up an ex on social media. You shouldn’t do it, but you just can’t help it!
Imagine my surprise when I went to the career section, and there was my former job posted as a new opening in the company.
Ok, this is where the lying comes in and this is what gets me fired up. Are you kidding me? I mean, I guess if they didn’t like me, telling me my position was being eliminated was the tactful thing to do. I can handle feedback on job performance and I appreciate honesty, but I wouldn’t want to hear something like that.
Maybe they were going to go one way, but then realized they couldn’t. Maybe they wanted to bring someone in to do the work of 2 people for the pay of less than 1. Maybe they’re just lying jerks. I don’t know what happened for sure, but I do know I’ll never learn the truth because there were too many lies leading up to this, and this was the lying cherry on the top. Plus, I’d never believe anything out of their mouths at this point.
I hold my head high every day that I’m not a part of that place anymore. I feel badly for those who are still there. More importantly, I feel awful for the poor soul who applies for my old position and gets it.
This was obviously a moment for me to let off some steam, but I want to hear from others! Have you ever been let go from a job, only to find out they lied to you? I know I can’t be the only one! I look forward to others sharing their story with me.

Uncategorized

Ask Me Anything

Ask Me Anything

I was recently asked to host my own Q&A on amafeed.com

AMA (Ask Me Anything) is a cool site I came across and I’m excited to participate in this. What is AMA, you ask? In a nutshell, and straight from their email to me, here’s what they have to say:

Our goal is to facilitate an exchange of information and expertise by encouraging open, authentic, candid discussions — without filter. This open exchange gives our Hosts the opportunity to share their understanding of their chosen topics of interest.

For Guests, AMAfeed is a place where you can participate in a frank discussion on subjects that matter to you. It’s the ideal way for you to get answers to your questions from those with the firsthand experience and knowledge on the topics that interest you.

For my first AMAfeed, I’m talking about blogging (Including beauty advice), writing, self-publishing, and becoming a published author in the very near future! (Heart & Soul – Set It Free…book one in the series, coming soon!)

Questions can be posted now, but it will be live and it will be happening tomorrow, 3/2/2018 at 11:00 PM Eastern time. Here is the link: AMA Feed

I hope to see you there! But just know that you can always ask me questions here, too!

Uncategorized, Writer's Block, Writing

Writer’s Block or Unmotivated?

pexels-photo-267684.jpeg

Currently, I’m working on self-publishing my first book and I’m in the process of writing additional books that are included in the series.
Writer’s Block is something we’ve all heard of. You’re stuck. You don’t know where to go with the story. The characters aren’t doing what you want them to do.
I’ve experienced this and though it’s never fun, it is very real. But, sometimes I wonder, is it writer’s block, or am I just unmotivated?
The reason I wonder this is because when I’m not writing, it’s not because I don’t know what happens next in the story, or what the characters need me to write, it’s because sometimes I simply want to be lazy. But recently that laziness has been earned.

As I mentioned, I’m getting ready to self-publish my first book. As I’m putting the finishing touches on that, I delved into an intense edit of my second book. On top of all that, I recently lost my job.
Minus the money factor (that damn money!), I’ve loved being home and having the freedom to write all day. As soon as the layoff happened, I jumped in on the edit and gave it my all. My editor was loving my motivation. She wanted to read the book first to get a feel of the story and where it goes before she took the reigns and had fun with her red pen. (She really loves her red pen, by the way.) It’s very motivating to have someone reading your work as you go along. It really pushes me to finish.
Well, I finished my edit of my second book, although it’s nowhere near ready, there will be so much more work on the horizon. And I handed off my first book to be formatted to print, so what was I to do? It’s not like I don’t have plenty to keep me busy, but once I reached a stopping point and I actually stopped, I realized something:
I’m exhausted!

Writing is extremely emotional. I’ll sit here with my fingers flying over the keys and tears streaming down my face at times. Other times I have a scowl in place because I’m angry at the situation that’s being created, or I’ll giggle like a loon and make my family wonder if I need a mental evaluation. But, something I don’t think people take into consideration is how taxing it can be. I certainly never knew!

I have to feel good when I’m writing. If I’m bored and trudging through a chapter, I believe that will come across when someone reads it. The flow of the story has to be there, the emotion from the characters has to be there, even if it’s a simple moment of sharing coffee in the morning. One of my favorite writing quotes is, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” I love that quote and believe it to be true. If it touches me, it will touch the reader. If it bores me, it will bore the reader.

Sometimes I need a day or two, sometimes more. But this was turning into weeks. Weeks of me staring at a chapter and changing a word here and there, then justifying my time with playing Bejeweled or My Vegas Slots on Facebook, claiming that would clear my mind.

Since I’ve started writing, I’ve always lived by this rule: Ass in chair – write. Sometimes when I do this my writing resembles that scene from the movie Misery where he’s trapped with a psycho fan and he can’t get away:

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck, wrote Paul Sheldon as he emoted his frustration at being held captive by Annie Wilkes. I get it, Paul. I totally get it. (Sidebar, I love this movie and must watch it again soon!)

I start to freak out when I take breaks. I worry that my creativity is gone forever (I’m really good at worrying), I get frustrated with myself, I let my brain become inundated with every single doubt I’m sure every single writer has ever had.

So, what did I do to try to get my mojo back?

  • I started to read a book, but that didn’t help. When I get in these droughts, all I do is compare my writing to other writers and nothing good comes from that.
  • I got out of the house. Since I’ve been unemployed, I’ve become reclusive and it’s not always a good thing. Getting out of the house helps clear the mind.
  • I worked out. The treadmill does wonders for helping me find the words I’m looking for.
  • I drank wine. A lot of it. Another quote I love: “Write drunk, edit sober.” I’ve written some of my best stuff tipsy. (Not all of it, so don’t judge!)
  • I took a walk with my daughter.
  • I talked about it. Endlessly. To both of my daughters and my husband. I emailed my woes to a friend of mine. They all assured me I would find it.
  • I giggled. A lot. My oldest daughter has Fridays off from college. This past Friday, she and I walked to the store, made lunch together and laughed about everything and nothing. Laughter truly is the best medicine.
  • I finally sat my butt down and wrote.
  • And wrote and wrote and wrote.

Just like everyone told me it would, and like I believed deep down in my heart, my mojo came back.

I realize I never answered the question: was it writer’s block or was I unmotivated? It could have been either one, so I honestly don’t know. What I do know is, it’s OK to take a break. As I’m learning along this crazy road, some of these breaks are going to take longer than others. This was a long one. I didn’t like it, but it’s over. Eventually I found the words and the rhythm of the story again and wondered why they were ever lost.

Now I have to stop rambling and get back to writing, I have characters waiting for me to finish their chapter!

Uncategorized

Welcome!

pexels-photo-102100.jpegWelcome to My Writing Days! Thanks for stopping by!

Some of you may be familiar with my beauty blog, BrookeKnowsBeauty.wordpress.com and if you are familiar with it, you may be wondering what I’m doing starting another blog, especially when I haven’t shown BKB a lot of love lately. If you aren’t familiar with it, come take a look!

Well, my life has taken many turns in the past few years. We’ve relocated twice in 4 years and I wrote a book series. Which leads me to this…

A while back, one of my friends suggested I write about writing. Hmm, I thought that was strange because shouldn’t I just focus on the story I have within me? I didn’t do anything about that until now. And I kind of wish I would have when she suggested it, because any time I’ve felt blocked or burned out on my novels, I turn to blogging and it clears my head. It still allows me to write, but since it’s more like journaling, it really frees my mind and gives me that motivation I need to start fresh and jump back into the world with my characters.

And, on top of writing a series of books, I’ve recently been laid off from my job. I’ve always said I wanted to write full-time, so here it is. Possibly for the time being, until I find a new job, or maybe, if life goes the way I’m visualizing it to go, writing will be my job!

So, what can you expect here? I’ll be sharing my journey with you as I self-publish my first novel. Yikes! I’m so excited, but so darn scared, too! I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the writing process and what I’ve experienced. I’ll even share with you what it’s like to write a steamy sex scene!

I thought I would also share my experience with being newly unemployed and what I’m going through with trying to find another job: applications, resumes and interviews…I have strong, and sassy, feelings about all of these topics!

One thing you need to know about me though: I have a lot to say! So, any time you visit, sit back with your coffee, tea or wine and be prepared to stay awhile.

Hopefully you’ll stick around. I like to think I’m that enjoyable!